Nutrition Survival for Children of the Rez
More and more effort is focusing on nutritionally healthy meals for low-income children. Along with this is the growing recognition of the link between obesity and diet and the health risks to kids, as well as the link between nutrition, learning, and behavior.
The momentum is leading us back to the basics… teaching children this important life-skill as part of their early childhood education. Several terrific programs are taking root that encourage advocacy for childhood nutrition, ensure adequate nutrition for children through free or reduced-price meals, and teach children sustainability through gardening and other food resources.
- Edible Schoolyard: Captures the “hearts and minds of children” through a school lunch curriculum, experience with gardens, and a lens of sustainability. The Edible Schoolyard concept started in New Orleans but today spans from East to West Coast. They are expanding to develop and share a national food curriculum and provide online education on gardening, kitchen and school lunch programs around the world.
- Children’s Defense Fund: Advocates for a level playing field for children, and offers a national school lunch program, a school breakfast program, a summer food service program, a fresh fruit and vegetable program, a special milk program, and more.
- No Kid Hungry: Works through other nonprofits, private citizens, government officials, business leaders and others to break down the barriers that keep kids from healthy foods and make ending childhood hunger a national priority. Through their network, they help connect kids to effective nutrition programs such as school breakfast and summer meals and affordable meals.
In safeguarding kids, let us not forget the 275,000 children of the reservations that are in our service area. National Relief Charities is introducing our second nutrition project for Native American teens living in food deserts.
- Teen Nations Cooking Kit: For Children of the Reservation: Offers a holistic approach to equip Native youth with the skills and information they need to work around their resource constraints and eat healthy. Through the kit and mentoring, Native teens learn about basic cooking techniques, smart food shopping, cooking with government commodities, and using resources from the local community (such as bison, fish, and traditional foods) to create healthy meals for themselves and their families.
The Teen Nations Cooking Kit (aka rez survival kit) project is being supported by the Cigna Foundation, and by Newman’s Own Foundation. NRC is continuing to seek additional funding so that we can expand the scope and impact of this important project, which is serving remote Indian reservations.